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Verve’s shares soar as Cambridge biotech makes its stock market debut

It aims to use gene editing to lower cholesterol and reduce heart disease risk

Dr. Sekar Kathiresan is chief executive of Verve Therapeutics.
Dr. Sekar Kathiresan is chief executive of Verve Therapeutics.GRETCHEN ERTL/NYT

Verve Therapeutics, a Cambridge biotech startup that wants to use gene editing to lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart disease, made a successful stock market debut Thursday, with its share price surging more than 60 percent.

Verve shares closed at $31.92, up 68 percent from the initial $19 offering. That offering was itself above the price of $16 to $18 that Verve had previously set. The stock is trading on the Nasdaq under the ticker symbol VERV.

Verve sold more than 14 million shares in its IPO, raising nearly $267 million from investors enthusiastic about its novel approach to treating cardiovascular disease with the genome-editing tool CRISPR. The company wants to make gene-editing medicines that mimic genetic mutations that naturally prevent some people from developing high levels of LDL, or “bad,” cholesterol, or high levels of triglycerides, or both.


Verve was launched in May 2019 with financial backing from a number of well-known venture capitalists, including GV, formerly Google Ventures.

Dr. Sekar Kathiresan, a cardiologist at Massachusetts General Hospital, cofounded Verve and serves as its chief executive. He told the Globe last June that most drug companies working on gene editing hope to treat very rare diseases.

“Very few are focused on cardiovascular disease and even fewer on heart attacks, the leading cause of death in the world,” he said.

Jonathan Saltzman can be reached at jonathan.saltzman@globe.com.